Sleeping in a church is an unusual way to spend more time with God. But those wishing to soak up more liturgical atmosphere can now do so in luxury, thanks to a new Church of England glamping scheme.
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:14-16 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Stop for a moment to consider that the entire world speaks the English language. Absolute temperature is Greenwich Mean Time, absolute temperature is measured in British Thermal Units. The preserved word of God resides within the pages of the King James Bible. Yet in spite of all this, and after the past 20 years of the UK ceding more and more ground to muslims and Islam, UK churches are so dead they have started to rent out glamping pods as tourist attractions and weekend spas. The Revelation 3 prophecy of Laodicea continues to be fulfilled before our eyes.
Cash-strapped churches are set to cash in on their scenic charms by hiring out “glamping” accommodation, with lets costing as much as £890 a week. Instead of asking guests to squeeze a sleeping bag between pews, churches will install luxurious oak “pods” – even in buildings where there are still regular services.
- WHAT IS GLAMPING? Glamping is a portmanteau of glamour and camping and describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Glamping has become particularly popular with 21st-century tourists seeking the luxuries of hotel accommodation alongside the escapism and adventure recreation of camping.
The pods, which can be removed, will sleep up to six people and will be equipped with the latest flat-screen televisions, free wi-fi, state-of-the-art-kitchens, a lounge and bathroom, as well as under-floor heating and wood-burning stoves.
Ruth Knight, Environmental Policy Officer for the Church of England said, “The aim is for small, quite isolated churches that don’t have a community around them to be able to afford to maintain the building.”
Rural churches were, she said, “among our most cherished architectural heritage sites” as well as ‘community resources”. She added, “We hope it will catch on. It is responding to a need.”
Holidaymakers will be able to book for days or even weeks, enjoying exclusive use of the historic buildings. But, in churches where Sunday services are still held, their stays will have to be tailored to avoid clashes with services or weddings.
“We would want to shut the pod when we are having services,” said Ms Knight.
“But churches are used to people going in and out, so it’s nothing new there.”
The money raised, which could run into tens of thousands of pounds, would be ploughed back into maintaining the ancient buildings, which, nationally, costs an estimated £100 million a year.
The scheme, which is being steered by the Archbishops’ Council, the Church’s “cabinet” chaired by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, comes as churches face smaller congregations and growing repair bills. The first church to have a pod will be St Michael’s in Dulas, near Hay-on-Wye, in Herefordshire’s Golden Valley.
Architects have designed a £140,000 prototype that should be open in the 13th century church in 2019. But it is expected that the cost of the pods would drop to £70,000 when they are mass-produced.
Reactions from locals had been “positive” said Tim Bridges, Church Building Support Officer for the Hereford Diocese.
“The church has been closed for ten years,” he said. “But people are keen not to see the church fall down and want it to have a sustainable future.
“This will mean that we can repair this Grade II Listed building and give it a future.”
However, traditionalists have criticized the scheme. Former Conservative Party chairman, Lord Tebbit said, “I don’t think a church is an appropriate place for what would be such a secular use as this, not while it continues to be a working church.”
Anthony Kilmister, the president of the Anglican Association, added, “This has the potential to destroy the prayerful atmosphere of many churches.
“I understand the need for money in the bank, but the spiritual ethos of these buildings must be preserved. This scheme is a step too far.”
Church officials say that, depending on the size of the church, the pod could be constructed sufficiently far away from the altar to allow room for services to continue. The move capitalizes on the growing popularity of “champing”, basic camping in disused churches, which has seen bookings rise 300 percent this year. source